Dec 9, 2009

Query - Chuck Steak

Dear ____:

In the first of a series of at least ninety-three books, Chuck Steak, the world's most badass, Dots the candy loving cop, is sucked into a deadly game on his wedding day where he has to convince Mia, his very Christian bride-to-be, along with fifty family members and a priest to get on a bus labeled "Why am I marrying this bitch?" Then, in a rip-off of the movie Speed, he has to keep the bus traveling above fifty-five miles per hour and also marry Mia within twenty minutes or else a bomb in her necklace will explode. However, after the Movie Maniac accidently sits on the remote detonator, Chuck is sent on warpath where he spirals downward and finds himself inviting villains, just like the one he is hunting, into his personal life. The ultimate question is, can Chuck ever hold onto happiness and let go of revenge?

Chuck Steak, completed at 70,000+ words, is not only a satirical crime story, but also a play on the clichés found in almost all novels and movies. As a fan of pop culture, I've set out to create an over the top adventure with a heavy emphasis on sarcasm, but the spotlight is strictly on Chuck—a near immortal man when it comes to action sequences with the strength of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the thirst for revenge like the Punisher and the charisma of Bruce Campbell from Army of Darkness. Like testosterone is to Harry Potter and Edward Cullen, Chuck's only weakness is self-destruction, and he flirts with it the entire novel.

In an unknown preparation for this novel, I've seen over 5,000 movies, 700 of them in the theater with the ticket stubs to prove so, and have searched all over the internet for what people consider the most annoying clichés, coming up with a list in the hundreds. I am already hard at work on the sequel Chuck Steak: A declaration of war on the justice system and the genre of YA where Chuck will run into a villain who thrusts him into a computer programmed world similar to the Matrix filled with fluffy high-school drama and then ultimately into the only true family he's ever known—the justice system.

Accompanied by my minor in English, I've written brochures, press releases and web content for personal businesses. I worked as a freelance editor on the side, and to date, have edited seven full-length novels. In the first quarter of 2010, my 15,000 word short story Uncurable will be published in the fifth installment of the award winning series Twisted Tails. I'm also a twenty-six-year-old stay at home dad who is happily married with a wonderful two and a half year-old son.

If you would like to read Chuck Steak, I will gladly send sample chapters or the entire manuscript. I want to thank you for taking the time to read this query letter, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Matt

(I hope this meets the guidelines-and thanks in advance if this gets posted.)

6 comments:

Iapetus999 said...

WTF?

Stacy McKitrick said...

If this isn't a joke and is considered a real query, you have a lot more research to do.

I'm with lapetus999.

Corra McFeydon said...

Hi Casper—



Before I start, please bear in mind I’ve never written a query letter for my own (incomplete) novel. What follows is only my unschooled attempt to help, founded upon gut instinct. Please use it as nothing more than one person’s perspective and build from there. :)


________________________________________


I looked at this letter as if I was a harried agent with a stack of queries to read, and my first impression was it was far too long and seemed desperate in places. The ticket stubs… why would they need proof you’d watched movies, and how does the number of movies you’ve watched have anything to do with your credentials? A joke I’m guessing? But as an agent, I don’t know you, and I’ve never met your character. So I just sense ‘crazy’ and don’t want to risk my time or money on you… because you seem unstable. You want to separate yourself from the character. Let the story sell itself. Don’t try to become the character no one has met yet.



Steer away from words like ‘rip-off.’ Stick to good connotation like ‘satirical’ and ‘spoof.’ Those words speak money to me (the agent), while ‘knock-off’ and ‘rip-off’ speak rejection pile. (I’m aware it’s a joke, but again, as agent, I don’t know the character. I’m reading these words at face value.)



Is the bus actually labeled "Why am I marrying this bitch?" That almost reads like a metaphor, so (as agent) I’m left wondering if the Speed spoof is all a joke based upon that metaphor—and doesn’t really happen. I'd be direct and clear about the story you're selling.


Trim words like ‘very,’ which are meaningless and read like desperation from the author, just like extra exclamation points. (Sorry! Trying to give it to you straight.) Also, punctuate movie titles with italics.


I think in your credentials, the brochure-writing would be meaningless to an agent as the novel is satirical comedy, and brochure-writing is more technical. (I could well be wrong there.) I think the minor in English and editing credentials speak far more and should be put front and center.


A quick idea for trimming/reordering:


(Split up so this isn’t too long for a comment.)

Corra McFeydon said...

Dear ____:



Chuck Steak, satirical crime story completed at 70,000+ words, is a bad-ass cop sucked into a deadly game on his wedding day where he has to convince Mia, his Christian bride-to-be, along with fifty family members and a priest, to get on a bus labeled "Why am I marrying this bitch?" Then, in a spoof of the movie Speed, he has to keep the bus traveling above fifty-five miles per hour and also marry Mia within twenty minutes or else a bomb in her necklace will explode. When the bomb goes off, Chuck is sent on a warpath where he spirals downward and finds himself inviting villains, just like the one he is hunting, into his personal life. The ultimate question is, can unlucky Chuck hold onto happiness and let go of revenge?



I have a minor in English and have worked as a freelance editor, completely editing seven full-length novels. In the first quarter of 2010, my 15,000 word short story "Uncurable" will be published in the fifth installment of the award winning series Twisted Tails.



My manuscript is ready to send in full for your review. Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you.




Sincerely,

Matt



___________________________________




I believe the above synopsis needs a bit of tweaking to return some of the satire to the story, but it sounds far more professional, IMO, and reads casually and confidently rather than over-anxious and pushy. (Sorry!) I tried to cut the parts that hurt your sale, but without knowing the story myself, it’s hard for me to create a new summary that properly sells Chuck Steak.



I hope this helps a bit, Casper. Good luck!


Corra

GhostFolk.com said...

Throw in a vampire and call it Chuck Stake.

A different Matt said...

This is probably a minor point, considering all the other problems here, but if you're blatantly ripping off "Speed," you should know in that movie they had to keep the bus over FIFTY miles per hour, not 55.